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Tobacco News
No tobacco ads by next year
  By: -
Source: The Star (my), 2002-06-08, via tobacco.org

IPOH, Perak (Malaysia): Advertising of tobacco products and sponsorship by tobacco companies for all types of activities will be stopped by the middle of next year, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif.

He said the ban applied to all local mass media to ensure that public misconception on smoking and health would be cleared "once and for all.''

It is learnt that the Government plans to amend the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations 1993 under the Food Act 1983 to pave the way for the complete ban by next year.

Dr Mohamad said the move would be in line with the World Health Organisation's draft international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which is the first international public health treaty that is seeking to regulate tobacco.

The first move towards the global ban was WHO's plan to reclaim sports for health by endorsing tobacco-free sports this year such as the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea and the Winter Olympics in February in Utah, United States.

Dr Mohamad said this in his speech when opening the National No Tobacco Week 2002 here yesterday. His speech was read out by deputy director-general Datuk Dr Tee Ah Sian.

He added that it was also "most unfortunate'' for Malaysia as the World Cup 2002 aired over local television stations was "polluted'' with advertisements sponsored by a tobacco company.

He explained that although the Government, together with other countries, supported the move to have tobacco-free sports, the contract between the tobacco company and local television stations had been signed prior to the agreement between FIFA and WHO.

"But the Government has ordered that its message on the negative effects of smoking be aired on television constantly, especially during prime time,'' he said.

Dr Mohamad also said that a person smoking about 20 sticks of cigarettes a day would be spending about RM5,400 a year and if it was multiplied with the four million smokers in the country, a total of RM21bil was spent a year.

"Tobacco companies earn at least RM6.6bil a year by selling cigarettes while the Government spends about RM4.8bil a year to treat smokers inflicted with smoke-related diseases,'' he said.


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